Officially Unleashing My Inner Photographer (Finally) by Andrea Beça

A perhaps little known fact about me (though not if you follow me on Instagram): I love photography. When I was a teen, my mom and brother taught me how to use an SLR (yes, in the days of yore, when film was the thing), and as soon as I had saved up enough money, I bought myself a DSLR (some time had passed) in preparation for a huge solo trip to England, Scotland, and Ireland. 

I packed a film camera too - for good measure - and returned from a month of travels with over 35 rolls of film and thousands of digital photos. I haven't stopped taking photos since.

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Photography is a huge part of my professional life, too. Beyond taking photos to feature on my own website and social media, I do a ton of portrait and detail photography for my podcast, That's So Maven! Taking photos so regularly for the podcast (and getting asked by many of the guests if I'm up for hire) has really inspired me to take the leap and start offering photography services to my clients

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Okay, so truth be told, it's not much of a leap, per se. I know there are a lot of people in my life who are going to read this and say, "finally!!" But it's a new change and I'm very excited for it. 

Want to see more? Visit my new photography portfolio (I'll keep this one updated and fresh just like I do with my video portfolio) and if you're ready to request a quote or book a session, drop me a line so that we can schedule it in. 

If you dig my work, click below to share this post and help me spread the word! 

Creating a Visual Time Capsule by Andrea Beça

I cannot express how grateful I am that when my nephew was born, I was able to pack my business up with me and jump on a flight to Toronto. Moments like this are a beautiful extra reminder of how much of a privilege it is to be my own boss. 

I, of course, fell madly in love with Jasper. I mean, I loved him before he was born, but getting the chance to hold him and bond with him face to face, skin to skin, was so incredible. Before even booking my flight, I knew that I wanted to create a time capsule of my visit to Toronto, and use my filmmaking skills to capture a slice of life that my brother and sister in law (and the rest of our family and friends) could have forever. 

I snapped photos and shot video at every chance I could get, and this is the result. I hope you enjoy it. 

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If you'd like to capture a special moment in time, get in touch with me

Five Tips for Great Video Content by Andrea Beça

You need video content, period.

It's 2017 and video is everything on social media. If you don't believe it, you really don't have to look much further than an infographic like this one, or articles like this, which are being published every day. Video gets ten times more shares than other content, and many social media channels are now giving it special preference. Video content on Facebook has such strong reach that a lot of businesses and brands are even trying to "hack" the system, sharing still photos as videos just to reap the benefits (side note: don't do this - it's just annoying). 

So, in the age of video content, what makes for great video content?

Here are my Top Five Tips for Great Video Content:

1. Know what kind of video you need

What's going to help you reach your goals? What ARE your goals? Are you trying to spread awareness? Sell product? Teach your clients? 

Examples of types of videos:

Knowing what you want to get out of your video is absolutely crucial to its success. I can't stress this enough. In fact...

2. Plan first, shoot second

Or as I like to say, plan first, second, third, fourth, fifth...and shoot tenth. 

The last thing you want is to spend your time and money on a video that doesn't actually do anything for you, or that leaves you wising you could do a re-take on your interview or voiceover. Before you shoot, make sure you know what your goals are, what you want to say, and that you have a plan for the final product. This is all accomplished by a briefing/concept meeting with your videographer and/or editor.

And speaking of hiring a professional to do your video...

3. Pay for quality

Do you always need a professional to make video? No. Not if you're doing quick Facebook Live content, or if you're shooting super casual videos with your iPhone to share on Twitter or Instagram Stories. 

But when it comes to videos with marketing goals, trust me on this one: hire a professional. 

Note the difference:

(Note: Absolutely no shade intended at the YouTube video on the left - I just needed an image to show what a video shot on a laptop cam/iPhone with no lighting or framing looks like, so I grabbed a screen cap at random.)

Not only does a professional videographer know about lighting and composition, your producer and editor (note that these may all be the same person, which is what happens if you hire me and many others) is a storyteller. Making you sound good and getting the right message across in an engaging and effective way is their job. It's the difference between an unprofessional video full of "ums" and "uhs" and a concise, compelling video that reaches your goals.

Almost every time I deliver a final cut to one of my clients, they say, "You asked me just the right questions and got me to say just the right thing - you totally captured who I am!" That's two writing degrees, over a decade of experience as both a professional writer and director, and six years as a video editor. I can take 30 minutes of interview footage and turn it into a fantastic 90-second video. Telling stories is what I've committed my entire life to doing. It's what I love the most.

As with many things, video is definitely a, "You get what you pay for" situation. Beware the person saying they can make you a great video ad for $100. That amount of money wouldn't even cover the rental on a basic lighting kit.

But at the same time, you can have incredible video content and no success with it if you don't...

4. Strategize your sharing

No social media strategy? 

Photo by Jez Arnold

Photo by Jez Arnold

You can't just order a viral video off a menu (though back in the day, when I worked at an advertising agency, we had many clients try). The internet is a very busy place. It's not an "if you build it, they will come" situation. So before you spend good money on developing video content, make sure you know what you're going to do with it. This strategy should be tied into the same conversation you have to set goals for your video(s). And it should definitely involve more than, "we're gonna put it up on our website." 

Remember that it takes a number of mentions for people to catch on to something - or even just to see it (damn you, algorithms). Have a strategy ready to get the most out of your video content.

5. Be yourself

It sounds simple, but it's so important. Video is the beautiful golden gateway to creating a strong, human connection with your audience online. If you're not genuine, your video will fall flat. So embrace your nerves, your unique facial expressions, and that cowlick in your hair, because all of those things are what will make your audience like you that much more.

Ready to make great video? You know where to find me

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